Thursday October 4, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) -- NL East champion Washington secured home-field advantage throughout the postseason by beating Philadelphia 5-1 on Wednesday for their major league-high 98th victory.

Nationals manager Davey Johnson missed the end of the game after feeling numbness in his left leg, leaving the dugout to get X-rays and treatment from a team doctor. Johnson -- at 69, the oldest skipper in the majors -- said he does not expect to have any trouble traveling or managing in the playoffs.

By winning their regular-season finale, the Nationals clinched top seeding for the NL playoffs and will open on the road Sunday at the winner of Friday’s wild-card game between Atlanta and St. Louis. Game 2 will also be at the wild-card winner’s stadium, before the best-of-five series shifts to Washington.

Ryan Zimmerman led off the fourth inning with his 25th homer off Cliff Lee (6-9). Michael Morse, the next hitter, doubled and scored. Rookie Tyler Moore’s solo shot in the sixth made him the seventh National with at least 10 homers this season. In the eighth, Morse added his 18th homer, a two-run shot off reliever Jonathan Papelbon.

Edwin Jackson (10-11) became Washington’s fifth pitcher with at least 10 wins, giving up one run and six hits over 6 2-3 innings.

Lee, who finished with a losing record for the first time since 2007, allowed eight hits and three runs in six innings and didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven.

Philadelphia finished third in the division at 81-81, ending a streak of nine straight winning seasons and five consecutive playoff appearances.

BRAVES 4, PIRATES 0

PITTSBURGH -- Jason Heyward singled twice and scored two runs for Atlanta in the regular-season finale.

Chipper Jones added a pinch-hit single in his final regular-season at-bat for Atlanta, which hosts St. Louis in the wild-card playoff on Friday.

Luis Avilan (1-0) won on a day the Braves used eight pitchers to hold Pittsburgh to four hits. Ben Sheets started and pitched one scoreless inning in his last major league appearance.

A.J. Burnett (16-10) gave up four runs in 5 2-3 innings for Pittsburgh. The Pirates finished 79-83, extending their record streak of losing seasons to 20.

The switch-hitting Jones, who was hitting left-handed, slapped the first pitch he saw to right field for a single in the sixth, the 2,726th and final hit of his career. Jones scored on a single by Brian McCann that put Atlanta up 3-0.

CUBS 5, ASTROS 4

CHICAGO -- Houston ended its National League tenure with a result that’s become familiar: a loss.

The Astros set a franchise record for losses in a season, finishing 55-107, one more loss than last year. The Astros split the final 30 games of the season, winning five of their final seven.

Bryan LaHair homered and hit a game-winning single in the ninth inning for Chicago.

In the first series between 100-game losers in the major leagues since 1962, LaHair homered in the second and broke a 4-all tie against Hector Ambriz (1-1).

The Astros became the first team with 106 or more losses in consecutive seasons since the 1964-65 New York Mets.

Houston finished its NL tenure with 3,999 regular-season wins, 4,134 losses and five ties. The Astros are moving to the AL West next season, creating three divisions of five teams in each league.

Carlos Marmol (3-3) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the win.

The Cubs, who haven’t won the World Series since 1908, went 61-101 for their most losses since dropping 103 games in 1966.

METS 4, MARLINS 2

MIAMI -- Ike Davis hit his 32nd homer and Scott Hairston got his 20th to help New York win its season finale.

Jeremy Hefner (4-7) closed the season with his second consecutive strong start. He allowed two runs in 7 1-3 innings.

The Mets (74-88) finished fourth in the NL East for the fourth straight year. The Marlins (69-93), touted as playoff contenders after an offseason spending binge, instead posted their worst record since 1999.

Hairston reached the 20-homer milestone for the first time. Andres Torres hit his third homer.

New York’s Lucas Duda was hit in the back of the helmet by a 79-mph curve from Dan Jennings in his final at-bat. Duda walked to first but was then taken out of the game.

Miami’s Jose Reyes swiped second base in the sixth to reach 40 steals for the fifth time, and the first time since 2008.

Rookie Tom Koehler (0-1), making his first major-league start, gave up three runs in six innings.